Tuesday, December 31, 2013

25 Days of Christmas

25 days of Christmas, 25 days of activities of fun. That was the plan. BUT......
It would be wonderful and fun and extremely stressful to try and do 25 days of Christmas. The month of December did not start as we planned, a lot of sickness was going on. We missed a lot that first weekend, but it ended up being a blessing. December always starts to be too busy and we are running around so fast we end up exhausted and missing the point of Christmas. It made me think about what I really wanted to focus on and do with Jman and RC. Christmas around here is centered around Jesus and his birth. We do not do Santa, its a personal choice, (for many reasons) People have the right to celebrate as they wish, so I don't look at others and care if they do Santa, and I would hope people wouldn't care that we do not. Has J heard about Santa? Of course there's no way around that. But at the end of Christmas and all through the year he will know the purpose of Christmas is Jesus.
So here is what we did accomplish this Christmas :) In no particular order.

New sensory bin - with candy cane scented rice. It smells so yummy and clears up the sinuses while cooking. Jman opened all the presents in the box. 

We put up the tree. RC liked this.

I added a new tradition this year, and bought a felt Christmas Story board. Totally worth the money. Its meant to work for 25 days and each day you add a part. We combined several days at a time just help the toddler mind out. Each day you read the story add a new piece. J every morning would say we have to read the story and was getting to where could tell a part of the story. This was my favorite thing we did all season. He thought Bethlehem looked like a castle and said "Mary and Joseph went to a castle, and Jesus was born in a nest." Well Jesus is a King and stable was His castle, His humble birth happened in.


RC was asked to play baby Jesus at the Sunday School birthday party!

We always make a point to go downtown and look at lights. This year we did it by boat. Which J loved!

I made my first treasure basket for RC. Since I get to stay home with RC as a baby there will be many more to come. It was a basket filled with real Christmas items for him to explore.

He loved it!

We did many Christmas crafty things at home. We made scented playdoh. Mint and peppermint scented. The mint was my favorite. We made some and handed it out to our friends. I tried to do a few things this year, where Jman gave to others, to help instill in him the desire to give and serve. So we started simple this year and gave to friends and a couple others you will see below.

We had scented Christmas jars - sugar cookie, mint, gingerbread, cinnamon, and peppermint. J thought these were hilarious.

We had gingerbread scented cloud dough.
We painted Christmas cards.
We went to a LOT of parties. Birthday, Christmas, Jesus Birthday. Lots of fun.
We threw a Christmas party for our friends. We made jingle bell ribbon bracelets to play with. We made Christmas trees out of sugar cones, icing and candy. They seem to really enjoy those. We exchanged presents and had a lot of fun!

We even had a birthday party at our favorite place. Gymboree!
One of my goals is to teach my boys Christmas is about giving to others. So we did a couple things to start that tradition. As they get older and understand more, we will do more.
We left a surprise in the mailbox for our mailman.
We gave presents to his Sunday School teachers. 

One of our new favorite things, is  an indoor snowball fight. Since we will never have snow here, and will always have to go elsewhere for it, I bought an indoor snowball fight last year. It was a bucket full of snowballs. I'm not sure what they are made of, but they are soft and fun to throw. Our usual pillow pit, became a snow pit. And we got on our gloves and hats because it was so cold in the snow. We played a couple hours and had a blast attacking each other. Daddy was attacked when he came home from work.

Then we went to Sea World and saw "real" snow.
We went Christmas light seeing. It seems this year people were not in the Christmas mood as much. Lights were not as exciting as last year. This picture is actually Sea World. I didn't take pics while driving.
My favorite Sunday of the year is the Big Music Sunday. Where the choir and orchestra put on a wonderful performance of Christmas music. I really miss playing in the orchestra, especially the Christmas performance. Such hard work is put in it. I just cant commit to the orchestra at this time, so now I sit and watch and enjoy it from the seats. Its always so important to me to see this. Jman did really well sitting and listening. I hope Jman and RC are musical! RC sure was captivated, until he decided to nap.
And of course Christmas. We had 4 rounds of gifts, and are very blessed with lots of wonderful new toys. Jman has had a blast playing with all his new toys. He plays with all of them and RCs! We started our morning with the Christmas story and opening the most important gift. Baby Jesus!

J was so sweet helping RC open presents and of course showed him how to play with all of them!


 We ended our Christmas celebration with a birthday cake for Jesus. Every year I make a cake for Jesus. As long as I can remember. And as far back as that goes, it always goes awful!. I am not a cake decorator by any means (Js construction cake was about the only successful one, and that was because I got to destroy it) Every Christmas something goes wrong. My mom always says its the devil trying to prevent a celebration of Jesus. Being someone who really believes in the power of evil in this world, I believe that to be true. This year was no different. I baked the cake Christmas Eve, hoping to have time to let Jman decorate with me. But the day had way too much going on (something else that needs to change next year, Christmas should not be rushed, that's when we miss the meaning). I went to decorate it that night after the boys were asleep, and it literally crumbled, even before I touched it with icing. I was so mad!! I left to go buy a stupid store bought one. And HEB was closed. Walmart was closed (which I couldn't believe). I was about to go to the gas station and buy hostess cupcakes, but Target was surprisingly open. So I found a cake. I know it doesn't matter the kind of cake or how it was made. It matters that Jesus has a cake. But it still upsets me. I refused to eat the store bought cake :( I will make a cake again next year, and something else will go wrong with it. But no matter what, we will have a birthday cake for Jesus and sing to him.

This Christmas taught me to go with the flow. Not everything will get done, not every party will be attended. I need to not attend everything, its ok to miss something. what's important is we recognize the true meaning and celebrate it all year long. what's important is these boys see what Christmas is about, love and giving to others and Jesus came because He loves. He doesn't care if you are naughty or nice, He comes for you!
Hope your Christmas was Merry and Bright!
And at the end of it all these smiles mean the world to me.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A toy for RC

I am so happy to be home with RC. At 5 months old I had to start leaving Jman and this began my spiral into crazy depression. I also realized God had a new plan for me, to be a SAHM. When RC turned 5 months, I noticed, and sighed relief that I am blessed to stay home and did not have to drop him off. 

I've been making Jman activities, sensory boxes and all kinds of things since I started staying home. Today is a first for RC. I made him a toy. Granted he has plenty of toys but it's time to work on his sensory experiences as well. So I made him a ribbon toy made of red, white and black material. Which I already had all of this, so even better.  Red, white, black colors draw babies attention most. Were focusing on visual sensory here. So here it is. 

He was captivated watching me make it. 
So focused

He likes it!

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gobble gobble

My mom sent me a picture of a turkey wreath. So I thought I can make that and offered to make her one. I bought some yarn and tulle and got to work. About $10 later and 2 hours of time. Here it is. 

Think it came out cute! This little turkey helped out by throwing tulle and pulling yarn everywhere. 

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fall is all around

We're a bit behind on fall activities. Last week was not good and I didn't get around to anything. This week we worked on some fine motor skills with some leaf lacing. Jman didn't really well at this. 
I changed out our sensory box and added some beans, dried peas and popcorn. He wasn't a huge fan last year of just the leaves and pine cones. So I vamped it up for him. So pretty! Wish fall looked like this. 
Success! He played for an hour. Lots of scooping and pouring. He shared with me and RC. 
He then started sorting the peas with the leaves, all on his own. He was matching colors. 
He also did some fine motor work by stringing the paper through the bottom of the funnel and up. I love watching what he comes up with this year. All these new activities that are not mine, all his own. 

We also tried a new activity today. Thank you Amanda for sharing it. I gave him a package of cups that have been lying around since his birthday unused. We used them as blocks  and built large towers and knocked them down. Good thing about that no one gets hurt and it isn't   loud. Then they were monster truck obstacles, and bowling pins. Who knew cups were so fun? 
RC joined in the fun. He was not impressed. 

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